Friday, January 15, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly
publication: January 12th 2021 by Gallery Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII Fiction
Present day: Emma Lovett, who has dedicated her career to breathing new life into long-neglected gardens, has just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to restore the gardens of the famed Highbury House estate, designed in 1907 by her hero Venetia Smith. But as Emma dives deeper into the gardens’ past, she begins to uncover secrets that have long lain hidden.
1907: A talented artist with a growing reputation for her ambitious work, Venetia Smith has carved out a niche for herself as a garden designer to industrialists, solicitors, and bankers looking to show off their wealth with sumptuous country houses. When she is hired to design the gardens of Highbury House, she is determined to make them a triumph, but the gardens—and the people she meets—promise to change her life forever.
1944: When land girl Beth Pedley arrives at a farm on the outskirts of the village of Highbury, all she wants is to find a place she can call home. Cook Stella Adderton, on the other hand, is desperate to leave Highbury House to pursue her own dreams. And widow Diana Symonds, the mistress of the grand house, is anxiously trying to cling to her pre-war life now that her home has been requisitioned and transformed into a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers. But when war threatens Highbury House’s treasured gardens, these three very different women are drawn together by a secret that will last for decades.
Three timelines, three amazing women, and three wonderful stories all told around Highbury Estate Gardens. 1907 is the original designer of the Highbury Gardens. Venetia Smith takes the job and starts the story of the gardens. The experience she has while designing changes her life forever. 1944 takes us to Highbury during WWII. The house has been turned into a war hospital. 2021 is the time when the gardens have been neglected for years and the owners of Highbury Estate would like them to be brought back to their original glory.
I am not sure if I can pick my favorite era. Each era has its own charm and its own story to share. The book would not have been nearly as amazing as it is without all 3 eras. They each told a story that was important to Highbury Estates story. I love the current time and the recreating of the gardens. It was amazing to learn of the history, to picture the gardens as they were and how they were found today. I loved how respectful Emma was of the gardens and her will to bring them back to how they were meant to be. 1907 was intriguing. A single woman, Venetia, comes to the estate to plant the original gardens. It was not just planting flowers; she was making rooms of special meaning to the estate owners. The people of the house and the surrounding area all added to her story and made her story so much more than just the garden. 1944 is my era. While I hate the idea of war, I love learning more about the time. This was a unique look at the world left behind. The widows left to run a household, the men injured and wishing to return to battles, and the help that takes on tasks that are not usual for them.
The Last Garden of England is a book that I was looking forward to. Julia Kelly used amazing detail in describing the gardens, the people, and the estate. I could picture the different rooms of the garden, hear the characters living their lives, and feel the love of the Highbury Gardens.
Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Julia Kelly is the international bestselling author of historical women's fiction books about the extraordinary stories of the past. Her books have been translated into 11 languages. She has also written historical romance as well as fast-paced contemporary sports romance under the name Julia Blake. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2021
It's time to escape winter and return to Magnolia Sound with THE WAY THE STORY GOES from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Chase. This is one enemies-to-lovers and small town romance lovers won't want to miss!
About THE WAY THE STORY GOES
Thriller writer Mia Kingsley has been hit with a serious case of writer’s block and she needs a little peace and quiet. A beach front property in Magnolia Sound seemed like the perfect escape and just the change of scenery she needs to get the words flowing again. That is, until her noisy neighbor starts running power tools and blasting music at all hours of the day and night. Before long, the next victim in her story starts to bear an uncanny resemblance to the contractor next door.
Austin Coleman never wanted to come back to Magnolia Sound. But sometimes, life takes an unexpected turn and the only way to get back on your feet is to go home. His plan is to avoid all things connected to his past, and renovating a beach house in the off-season is just the way to do that—there’ll be no neighbors and no distractions. Or so he thought until he almost maims his sexy neighbor with a flying sink. Despite his best efforts, trouble follows everywhere he goes.
At first she wanted to kill him. Now she wants to kiss him. Sometimes you just have to wait and see where the story goes.
My Thoughts… Author, Mia Kingsley, heads to Magnolia Sound to be near her best friend and to get away from the craziness of Boston. She moves into an amazing house on the beach. The house next to hers is being remodeled and the noise is making her crazy, leaving her unable to concentrate on working. Then she meets the contractor, and it is not just the noise that is leaving her unable to work, she cannot get Austin Coleman out of her thoughts.
Samantha Chase is a queen of writing fun and sassy romance stories. The characters are never perfect, their stories are never easy, and the love that grows is always strong and true. Austin and Mia are both dealing with people who have put them down their entire lives. People who expected more from them and were never happy with what they had to do. They both have learn to accept that other people’s opinions should not force them to make decisions. They are both adults and very able to make their own choices and deserve to find their happiness.
I love Mia and Austin together. They have not come from the same worlds, yet it does not matter. The two of them together are perfect. It is when the outside world gets involved that things get messy. I enjoyed how they were together, I liked how they opened up to each other. The trust between them gave me hope that no matter what had happens until the outside world starts giving their opinions. They came together, they talked, they trusted, they fought, and they loved.
**Thank you Inkslinger PR for a copy of the book as part of a blog tour for my honest review.
Get your copy of THE WAY THE STORY GOES!
About SAMANTHA CHASESamantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
publication: January 12th 2021 by Berkley Books
From Goodreads…The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel--about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.
1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game--and nothing is ever the same.
2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she's got nothing to lose.
In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined--even with damage from a fire decades before--but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there's something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.
Come to Raven Hall and take part in pretend weekend party. Something sounds fishy about this, but the price is right, the payment would help, so you go. The weekend party is not all that it cracks up to be. It is a who-dun-it and the only clues you get are sealed envelopes and stories the hostess tells.
I loved that there were two timelines. The present timeline of Sadie arriving to attend the party, meet the guests, and enjoy her time at Raven Hall was interesting. The murder/mystery parties have been happening for a while around here and I have always thought they sounded fun. This party starts out fun but quickly Sadie realizes that something is off, something is not right, and something bad is going to happen. The 1988 timeline of Beth being invited to come stay at Raven Hall as the best friend for Nina had me wondering what else was going on. Why was Beth truly invited? I also wondered how the two timelines would come together when only the location of Raven Hall seems to be the same.
Emma Rous did a wonderful job of pulling the entire story together. She kept the timelines easy to follow, easy to tell which time you were reading about, and when the story came together it was seamless. There are no gaps in the story, no wondering what happen, and (for me) no wishes that it would have gone differently. The Perfect Guests is the perfect mystery, thriller, who-dun-it story.
**Thank you Dache’ Rogers at Berkley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet Emma Rous
Emma grew up in England, Indonesia, Kuwait, Portugal and Fiji, and from a young age she had two ambitions: to write stories, and to look after animals. She studied veterinary medicine and zoology at the University of Cambridge, then worked as a small animal veterinary surgeon for eighteen years before switching to full time writing in 2016. Emma lives in Cambridgeshire, England, with her husband and three sons.
The Au Pair is her first novel, published in eleven countries in ten languages. The Perfect Guests is her second novel, due out in January 2021.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021